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Guilty As Charged

May 25, 2020: George Floyd took his last breath as the knees of a police officer crushed his neck, pressing the life out of his body. Internationally, tens of thousands cried for justice through protests and riots. Christians all over the world offered up prayers before God to take control and to eradicate systemic racism and the cruelty that comes with this destructive spirit.

This was not the first time that a Black man or woman was killed in plain sight by a police officer. But this slow, painful execution was caught on camera and was broadcast all around the world. In light of this incident, initiatives began in the workforce, with governments and other institutions. There were attempts to highlight systemic racism and to bring consciousness to deliberate biases and unconscious biases that Black people continue to face. Some efforts were short lived, which made me question the genuineness of the attempts to address this issue. Meanwhile, other establishments have put policies in place to deter this practice within their organizations.

It is unfortunate, but racism may be hidden by disingenuous words; executives fashioning their Steffano Ricci or Givenchy designer suits, while refusing to review a resume because it bears a name that they could associate with a Black person. Cashiers and shelf-stockers surveil Black purchasers at local Walmarts, accusing them of theft, even with a receipt in hand. There are even religious organizations who monitor the attendance of certain folks at their churches, and discriminate discreetly using the word of God as a barrier.

Preparing the way for Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian band; the Lord set Peter - one of his trusted disciples - straight in Acts 10, on his predisposition toward the Gentile nations. When he refused to do the will of God, Peter had a powerful encounter with the Lord through a vision. He learned that God has all power to unify and to make one race of many people, Act 10: 13-15.

We have all been guilty of one thing or the other, and have been nervous about getting caught and the possible consequences of our actions. It is not often that one tells on themself, or just shows up at the police station to turn themself in for a crime that they have committed without a warrant for their arrest being issued. This is the nature of sin, wanting a free pass without penalty. Although grace and mercy are by the shed blood of Jesus, it does not eliminate the payment for wrongs.

It may take years before the day of reckoning shows up, but that day will arrive. It may not come the way that someone else would like it to come, but it will come as God’s will allows. Then, in eternity there will be accountability for all deeds: those missed by the watchful eyes of the law, those hidden domestic indiscretions, abuse, and bias expressed through words and actions; the charge will be handed down.

Take a breath, breathe differently this time around. Live a new life with intentions to do better to those around you. What is the date today? What will be said of you today? You have the power to affect change and to be known for doing something wonderful for someone on this day.

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